My name is Karen Bransgrove. I'm a mother of two grown-up daughters, Tracy who was married in April 1999, and Deanne who was married in November 2000. My husband ( Stan) and I, have lived in Victoria (Australia) all our lives, and in our current home for the past 25 years. We've been married for 34 years.
My love of miniature schnauzers began when my daughters were in primary school, and one of their friends had two minis. I'd never seen one before, and immediately fell in love with their looks and personalities.
When our mini fox terrier died after a prolonged epileptic fit, in 1984, I decided that I would like to have a miniature schnauzer. Our girls were aged 13 and 15 at that time and were beginning to have active social lives, so when we got Pepper our very first mini, she was really "my" dog.
Although my Pepper came from an experienced mini breeder of many years, she was certainly not "show" quality. With much help and guidance from her breeder, it was decided that she was still a nice "breeding" bitch and should have a litter of pups. And that's how it all began...........
I lost my dear old Pepper in January 2000 at 15 years of age. When I first brought her home, I never imagined just how much she would come to mean to me, or the pleasure that I would derive, over the years, from owning, loving and breeding mini schnauzers.
I love, more than anything, to have a litter of pups here in the home. I'm very focused on breeding healthy puppies with good temperaments so we make sure that they are socialized with other dogs, our cat and plenty of people. They hear the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher, radio and TV and, in general, get used to all the sounds of a "home". They are always handled gently but firmly, and get used to having their nails trimmed and being groomed. By the time they go to their new homes, they are usually very close to being toilet trained, and will come quickly and enthusiastically when called.
I am limited as to how many dogs I can have on my property, so never have more than two breeding bitches at any one time. Once a dog belongs to me, they stay with me until the end so sometimes I can only have one breeding bitch because my numbers are taken up by my "retirees". At this time, I have Bess aged 6, recently retired from breeding, and Maddy, 9 months who is at the moment busy at Obedience Classes. Some time next year, we'll start thinking about puppies for her (the "marriage" is already arranged) <sm>
In 1990, the Australian National Kennel Council changed the breed standard in minis, so that it was no longer compulsory to dock tails. Since that time, I have not docked any litters and have come to love those wagging tails. Ear cropping has been illegal in Australia for many years so we breed for good ear carriage and I think before too long, we'll be breeding for a particular tail "style" too.
I have been an Obedience Instructor now, for quite a few years at a large Dog Club, but for the past six years I have specialized in the training of Puppies. At our Obedience Club, we have a four-week Puppy Preschool for puppies who have had only one vaccination (this is always held in a "safe" environment). And then, when the pups are fully vaccinated, they can come into our Puppy Classes which are held at the Club grounds. These classes are held over eight weeks; and by then the puppies are about six months old, and ready for more "formal" Obedience. We have found that these pups who are beginning their training and socializing at an early age, are much more settled and ready to learn when it's time for them to begin their "formal" training. We use positive re-enforcement methods and put great emphasis on praising the puppies for what they get right, rather than chastising them for what they do wrong.
I have only been a member of the Hoflin Miniature Schnauzer List for about eight months, and I am greatly honored to have been asked to be a part of the Puppy Groups. I see this as an "extension" of the work I do as a Puppy Obedience Instructor. I look forward to sharing the experience I've gained in raising puppies with lots of new puppy owners.
Please contact me directly if you are the proud new owner of a new puppy and wish to be included in the "New Puppy" email groups.